This post isn’t going out quite as early as planned. I hope you’ll forgive me! So, let’s get right down to berry business… more information about Rumtopfs and my Blackberry Blueberry Rumtopf recipe.
Other than wanting to enjoy just one or two fruits at a time with my Rumtopfs (which I mentioned in Part One), the other reason I’m making one just for blackberries and blueberries is their colour. These types of berries tend to overpower and would stain any lighter coloured fruit in the Rumtopf. There’s nothing actually wrong with this and it would still be totally edible, delicious even. It’s just me. I’m just a very visual person and sometimes purple stained peaches, nectarines, apricots or whatever, are not visually appealing. I realize this makes me a little weird but I can live with that.
Since I don’t have a tremendous amount of experience with Rumtopfs (I apparently wasn’t much of a fan when I was a kid), I scoured the internet and books to see if I could get a loose set of rules about which fruits would work and which wouldn’t. Interestingly enough, the consensus was extremely varied. Some stated to avoid using apples, melons, blackberries or blueberries (which I obviously ignored), rhubarb, citrus or bananas. While other recipes specifically called for or suggested them. Best I can say to you is to experiment with whatever type of fruit you have or like best.
First, as a guideline, here’s a very traditional Rumtopf recipe:
- May-June: Start with strawberries
- June-July: Then come the apricots
- July-August: Cherries next
- August-September: On to the plums
- September-October: Last are the grapes and/or pears
Other suggested traditional fruits are peaches, raspberries, red currants and gooseberries. It’s also not uncommon finish up the Rumtopf with a top layer of pineapples (store bought, obviously). Basically, it’s mostly whatever fruit comes into season from regional/local gardens.
If you want to get a little more exotic, you can also add such fruits as fig, loganberries, huckleberries, citrus, raisins, kiwi, melon, lychee, banana, mirabelle plum (extremely hard to find in the US due to some strange import laws), starfruit or mango.
For the most part, you don’t need to worry about peeling your fruit because the alcohol will soften it nicely. However, if you prefer to peel it, that’s totally fine. Do wash all fruit well.
- Apples – Core and slice thinly or cut into bite-sized chunks. (Some folks say they get mushy)
- Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches and Plums – Pit and slice or cut into chunks. Personally, I would probably remove the skin from the peaches.
- Blackberries and Raspberries – Just wash and make sure there are no stems.
- Blueberries and Currants – Remove stems and puncture.
- Cherries (sweet or sour) – Pit and half, if you wish, or leave whole.
- Grapes and Gooseberries – Remove stems and puncture. Can also be halved.
- Pears – Core and slice or cut into chunks.
- Pineapple – Remove rind and core, slice or cut into chunks
- Strawberries – Hull and half or quarter.
A word of caution with these fruit:
- Bananas – If you’re going to add them, definitely do it last. Some folks say they can take on a mushy texture.
- Citrus – Can overwhelm everything with a sour or bitter taste, so go easy with them on your first try. Would be another fruit to add towards the end.
- Melons – Can make the mixture watery and dilute the alcohol, which could lead to fermentation. Could also get pretty mushy. Use in moderation.
- Rhubarb – Can make the whole thing sour.
Depending on what you’re going for, you can also add some additional ingredients. Try adding a cinnamon stick or two, whole cloves or star anise. This would be especially appropriate if you’re using spiced rum.
Overloaded on information yet? Well, let’s move onto the recipe!
First we start out with half a cup of blackberries and half a cup of blueberries. Remember, the ratio is 2:1 parts fruit to sugar.
Here’s my half cup of sugar to go with my cup of berries. Okay, maybe not the best look to have the scattered berries but the bowl of sugar looked so lonely by itself. I felt like it needed some friends.
Before you place all your berries into your container, make sure to puncture the blueberries with the tip of a knife. This ensures that they can properly absorb the rum. You can also use a pin or needle.
There we go, all the berries nicely mingling together in the snap lock container.
Next I poured on the sugar.
Ooh, look. I got a shot of me pouring the rum over the berries and sugar. Make sure to fill it until there’s about a 1/2 inch of rum over the fruit and sugar.
The rum is settling in nicely. Love the purple hue that’s taking over the sugar.
Here’s a nice view from the side, in case you wanted to see.
And voilà! With the lid tightly closed we have a dark berry Rumtopf ready to mature and mellow for a few months in the basement. It’s cozied up next to my apricot Rumtopf under a dark towel.
There’s so many different ways you can use your completed Rumtopf. It pairs very well with pound cake, yogurt, custard, cottage cheese, puddings (rice or vanilla), griessbrei (German semolina pudding) or over ice cream with a dollop of whipped cream. You could also make a nice little cocktail using two parts sparkling wine and one part Rumtopf liquid with a few pieces of the Rumtopf fruit. Or the resulting liquid by itself will make a nice little liqueur or cordial.
Mmm, looking forward to it, little Rumtopfs!
And you know what? If you don’t end up liking the fruit and liquid mixture (perhaps the softened fruit isn’t your thing) but love the taste, puree it all and use it as a syrup. I’m sure I’m making a few folks groan with my very unauthentic suggestion here but so be it!
Prost und Mahlzeit!
Refer back to the Rumtopf: Part One (Apricot) post.
Small Blackberry Blueberry Rumtopf
- A half cup of blackberries
- A half cup of blueberries
- Half a cup of sugar
- Enough overproof rum 100 - 110 proof to cover
Wash berries and remove any stems. Puncture blueberries with the tip of a knife, needle or pin. Place berries in small container - either stoneware, ceramic or snap lock glass. Add half cup of sugar to fruit. Pour alcohol over fruit and sugar mixture until there is 1/2 inch of rum over the fruit.
Store in cool dark place for 1 - 2 months.
Serve in small quantities over vanilla ice cream or use 2 parts sparkling wine and 1 part Rumtopf liquid for a sweet cocktail.